Fun activities to enjoy at home this Easter weekend

With millions of families on lockdown for the first long holiday of the year, now is the time to get creative, both inside and out. Here is our pick of the best simple ideas to keep your kids entertained over the Easter holidays from home.

Three chicks on grass

While the first weekend of the Easter holidays traditionally sees motorways all over Britain gridlocked, as families escape for a break, this Easter is going to be a local affair.

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Wildlife is already showing some signs of benefitting from the huge drop in traffic, but that may be of little comfort when you have small people who need entertaining. Happily, there are still many ways to make the most of the holidays. 

From garden campouts to helping your local wildlife, here is our pick of the best simple ideas to keep your kids entertained over the Easter break from home.

When is Easter in 2020?

This year Good Friday is on 10th April and Easter Sunday is 12th April.

Why does the date of Easter change each year?

The date of Easter changes as a result of the lunar calendar. Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the full moon in the period from 22 March to 25 April, and always after the March Spring Equinox.

Sowing seeds in eggshells

This is the time of year when the sun shines directly on the equator, making night and day nearly equal all over the world. Ecclesiastically fixed on 21st March, the Spring Equinox heralds the beginning of the new season, even though our Gregorian calendars date spring from the beginning of March.

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Why do we celebrate Easter Sunday?

The Spring Equinox has traditionally been celebrated as a time of rebirth or renewal, hence why in Christianity, Easter Sunday represents the resurrection of Christ.

When were Easter eggs first invented?

The exquisite Fabergé eggs were invented in 1885 as Easter gifts for the Russian royal family to give to family and friends.

In early 1880s in parts of Germany, eggs were used as birth certificates. They were dyed, inscribed and decorated and could even be used as proof of identity in court.

Decorated Easter eggs
The exquisite Fabergé eggs were invented in 1885 as Easter gifts for the Russian royal family/Credit: Getty

Where does the name ‘Easter’ come from?

The name Easter is thought to come from the German goddess Eostre, whose name derives from Proto-Germanic meaning ‘dawn’.

What is the meaning of hot cross buns?

As part of a Good Friday tradition, the English would hang a hot cross bun in the house for an entire year to protect the kitchen from fire and ensure perfect bread. In the Christian faith, the eating of a hot cross bun  signals the end of Lent and the cross represents the crucifixion of Jesus.

Hot cross buns
Delicious homemade hot cross buns/Credit: Getty

Make homemade hot cross buns with this recipe from our friends at BBC Good Food


Fun family activities to enjoy at home this Easter

Rosee Woodland shares a selection of fun family activities to enjoy at home this coming Easter weekend.

Go camping, no really!

With all those Easter al fresco trips cancelled, why not camp out in your garden instead? Pitch your tent, snuggle up in sleeping bags, and light a fire. Cotswold Outdoors’ has designated Saturday April 11, the Cotswold Outdoor Easter Camp In. The company is encouraging people to share pictures of their home campsites, camp food and camps views via the hash-tag #campingathome. To find out more, including tips on how to prepare yourself for the day, visit: cotswoldoutdoor.com/outdoors-on-your-doorstep

Family assembling camping tent and playing camping in back yard.
Have a mini adventure by camping in the garden this Easter weekend/Credit: Cotswolds Outdoors

If you’re feeling even more adventurous, why not join an online challenge? Trail runner Rory Southworth has been keeping fit ‘trekking to Everest Base Camp’ – by climbing the same distance on his stairs at home.


Help your local wildlife

Spring is a time of activity for garden wildlife and there are many ways to get involved.

Make a log bird feeder to encourage more birds to your garden, or a bug hotel or even or make a micro-nature reserve with these instructions from the Wildlife Trusts. 

Bug hotel
Turn your garden into a bug haven with a homemade bug hotel. (Getty)

For more great nature-themed ideas, including insect identification guides, instructions for building a mini pond, see our easy daily activities for children to do at home. 


Build a hedgehog house

Build a hedgehog house of your own to encourage them into your garden.

Dorset based writer Joanna Quinn has recently welcomed home a hedgehog she rescued last year, which was cared for over winter by her local rescue centre Paula’s Wildlife Rescue. Joanna said: “Our hedgehog Robin is thriving, and eating lots of cat food at the moment. We found him in the middle of a road in Dorchester on our way to get a Christmas tree, which is why he’s called Robin.”

Hoglet
Robin the hedgehog as a hoglet/Credit: Paula’s Wildlife Rescue

Robin, who was a baby when he was rescued, is now making himself at home in a special hedgehog house in the family’s garden, and you can make one yourself from simple materials.


Go on an Easter egg hunt

Even if you haven’t manage to track down a chocolate Easter egg, there’s nothing stopping your little ones enjoying an Easter hunt in the garden if you have some normal eggs that you can blow and then decorate.

Just make sure you save the precious insides for something delicious, such as this asparagus and sweet potato hash with smashed avocado and egg recipe.

Sowing seeds in eggshells
Sowing seeds in eggshells
Getty

Eggs shells can also be used as a handy container for sewing seeds. 


Press flowers – or paint with them!

You don’t need a flower press to preserve flowers. A couple of heavy books will do the trick! Lay the flowers between two sheets of absorbent paper – coffee filters and newspaper both work well – and then insert between the pages of the book and lay some more on top.

Flowers on a book
You can reuse your homemade flower press over and over again, preserving hundreds of different flowers (Photo by: Westend61 via Getty Images)

For more details, see this flower pressing tutorial  or learn how to print with flowers instead.


Try bird watching from your window

If you don’t have access to an outdoor space, why not join the Self Isolating Bird Club? This new Facebook group was set up by Springwatch presenter Chris Packham to boost birdwatching during the lock down. Members have set up mini cameras in nest boxes and on bird feeders to capture the busy spring season. There is a daily morning live feed, which attracts more than 500,000 viewers.

boy birdwatching
Watch birds from your window and record the species you spot/Credit: Getty

See our garden bird guide for species identification and tips on attracting them to your garden


Sow salad and vegetable seeds for summer

Whether you’ve got several acres, or a window box, now is a good time to sow some seeds . Salad seeds grow very easily and likes a shady spot, or you can get more ambitious, with tomatoes and courgettes – both will also grow well indoors in a sunny spot with plenty of ventilation.

Young boy planting seeds in the vegetable garden
Children of all ages will enjoy sewing seeds and growing their own flowers and vegetables/Credit: Getty

Compost has been in short supply recently, but you can re-use old compost, topped up with plant food for hungrier crops. Sieve it first to take out old roots, weeds and any unwanted beasties.


See some baby animals being fed or stream a wild animal feed

If you have a city farm near you, check their website or Facebook page as they may be showing footage. Bath City Farm has been streaming live feeds on Saturdays when volunteers feed the baby animals.

Here’s Pam the pig eating some greens in slow motion????

Posted by Bath City Farm on Sunday, April 5, 2020

For a wilder experience, the Wildlife Trusts have live feeds of many interesting animals all over the country. Watch an osprey nest in Cumbria or pipstrelle bats in Essex. You find a full list of Wildlife Trust webcams, via  wildlifetrusts.org/webcam


Best Easter treat recipes

Easter biscuits

Sweet, crumbly and heavenly light, these moreish macaroons are easy to bake for an Easter gathering.

easter biscuits

Chocolate Easter eggs

Although it sounds ambitious, making chocolate Easter eggs is remarkably simple. With oodles of chocolate involved, it is the ideal way to spend a cosy evening in the run up to Easter. All you need is an egg mould and 250g of chocolate.

chocolate eggs

Meringue filled with lemon curd and whipped cream

The meringue’s crunchiness is mixed with the zest of lemon and is finished with the topping of whipped cream, creating a mouth watering taste that should not be missed.

meringue

The perfect boiled egg for your Easter breakfast

Boiling an egg should be so simple – yet so often something goes wrong. Follow Claire Thomson’s foolproof method.

boiled egg

Easter decoration ideas

Easter Tree table decoration

An Easter Tree is a wonderful addition to your home this spring. Hang colourful painted eggs from branches on your kitchen table.

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easter tree

Decorated eggs

Use natural dyes and materials to make Easter Eggs with a difference.

Dyed eggs